My Sunrise

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This morning

I looked into the sunrise and thought of you
It reminded me of how I felt when I first held you
It was an honor, one not deserved 
One I wasn’t sure I was prepared for 
But one reserved for me
Thus I gave praise
Tears vacated by ducts
As love courses through my veins 
Your presence connected my existence with purpose My Sunrise
And like the aqueducts of Rome brought life 
My love flowed to you

My Princess

and became a prosperous Land 
With pride I see you as developed field 
Filled with vegetation
A plentiful harvest 
With plush trees that offer shade
To those overwhelmed by life
As the sun retreats behind the clouds
I think on this time you are away
And smile because I know it will emerge
And when it does, it will again provide light to all open to receive it 
Spiritual Sunglasses ’16

It’s Not Pronounced (Just-Us)

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In a recent conversation, I was captured by the pronunciation of the word “Justice”.  The word, pronounced Jus-tis, spoken swiftly reveals the definition of the word by many human beings; (Just-us).  Reaching across racial and economic lines, the preservation and advancement of self has taken the reins of most lives such so that those who place others above themselves are rewarded and celebrated.

As the voice continued, I continued to hear Just Us.  As I matched this with the argument given, I realized that the actions being judged were being seen through the eyes of one who was unaffected by the circumstances at hand.  It became clear that as long as one’s civil rights, safety and well being weren’t threatened, one is likely to feel comfortable in the system that is administrating Justice, leading them to believe that Justice was being served.  And there is truth to this!  Justice is served everyday.justice

I Posed this Question: “Is Justice distributed and served equally?”

The answer, a resounding no!  Honestly, Justice is distributed amidst us on a credit scale.  Ones value to society is run through a rubric of sort, and the value of a life is determined by a formula that is distributed from a society that holds Capitalism as Justification.  Yes believers, in Christ, we are Justified by His Sacrifice, and in America, we are Justified by Capitalism.  Ones ability to earn, is placed above basic humanity, and ones right to prosper, trumps the civil rights or liberties of those economically beneath them.  Our Capitalistic mindset serves as the hot toddy that gives us sweet rest at night.

It has become more apparent that Justice is a’ la carte!  And yes, if you have to ask how much it cost, you can’t afford it!  Things that should accompany the meal, are now offered on the side.  It is distributed in small serving sizes, listed in fine print with fancy language on a contract that was written to benefit authors and investors, not readers and partakers.

It gives the illusion of full coverage, providing confidence, while defining limitations that shortchange satisfaction. 

It encourages all to invest, changing the rules as rights are distributed to insure that ones obtaining rights can’t fully benefit the same way as those that have profited from its promises.  What keeps all protecting her secrets is the illusion that what has been obtained by others, will be redistributed to those that follow.

When in reality, we are all dogs on a track, chasing a fake rabbit around in hopes that we will be declared winner, when in truth, the real winners are in the sky box taking bets on which one of us will chase the dream the hardest.

justice1What was promoted for all, was only promised to some.  And from those to whom the promise was extended, most have not received and have only pretended to have taken hold of.  As I talk and read chats and blogs, I wonder if most realize that the dream is still a dream?  That this promised distribution is not intended, just impending!

All this to say, we are in a matrix (no I’m not going there!).  There are things that we are privy to, and all other things are just rumors of war.  We are revealed the hand as it is played, and we are unsure who is dealing the cards, and are only sure of one thing; the deck is stacked, and the slight of hand ensures that only a select few the power.

Having said all this, one of the greatest illusions is that Justice is for all.  If this were true, our freedoms and liberty would not depend on the amount of legal representation one can afford.  Having the right amount of resources gives one confidence in a system offers Justice to those who can afford it.  Those who lack resources, lack access to what was promised to all.

 

 

Pierced; Hurt

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If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar,
and there remember that your brother has something
against you, leave your offering there before the altar,
and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother,
and then come and present your offering.
Matthew 5:23-24

 

Tuesday, the discipleship group began its first lesson in the series pierced.  The base scripture, Matthew 5:23-24 highlights a lesson from our Lord who highlighted an important truth key to keeping peaceful and healthy relationships.

Jesus says, “If therefore you…remember that your brother has something against you…”  If you come to church, and the thought crosses your mind that a brother or sister has been hurt by you,  Jesus gives instructions on what we are to do.  I love that he simply says an offering.  No matter what the circumstances are with the type of offering or even the urgency of the offering, Jesus says, leave it!

O14206014_922835837825636_8436437023596133315_our relationship with God is our first priority!  We are to put God first in all we do; right?  The word says, seek you first the “His Kingdom and His Righteousness”!  Yet, Jesus says, “…leave your offering…first be reconciled…”  We tend to forget that we are a part of “His Kingdom” and that our interaction with each other are also to be demonstrations and illustrations of “His Righteousness.”

From this, we looked into this “first be reconciled” and the since of urgency God places on restoring and healing relationship with our fellow man.    While looking into this urgency, we discovered that many, if not all of us have been hurt, or have hurt someone.

There are two ways we discussed that one can be hurt or hurt someone:
1.  Intentional  2. Unintentional

What we love about Jesus’s words, is that He doesn’t give weight to either in His instructions.  In other words, it doesn’t matter whether you hurt someone intentionally or unintentionally!  The instruction is to reconcile the relationship!

This was an important part of the lesson.  Many of us lack  sense of urgency when we feel people are hurt unintentionally.

Words like: 1. Super Sensitive  2. Exaggerating  3.  Misunderstanding 4  Overreacting

…allow us to justify not making quick restoration or not restoring a relationship at all.  This is wrong!  We drag our feet, or feel justified with the injury as though we are not held responsible for the injury.

The question asked about hurt was made clearer after the illustration by Sister Ashlee.  The Dermal Piercing showed the process on placing the plate which holds the jewelry in place.

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Image B:  Dermal Piercing Tools

The plate is put beneath the skin by the piercer, who drill through skin, cutting into the flesh, to create a hole in the body.  With a knife, the skin is separated from flesh, to make a space for the plate.  This plate is forced in by using the leverage of the piercer and the flexibility of the skin.

The two holes Ashlee taught (picture in Image B.) are important to the lesson.  The holes are designed to make the plate permanent.  Once the plate is in place, the skin heals and the flesh stabilizes the plate by growing through the holes.

The question was asked of the group:  How many permanent plates do you have?  And how many permanent plates have you placed?  The answered varied about the amount of plates, and the testimony about the amount of plates placed were answered with self reflection.

Yes, it is tough to consider how many people we have wounded.  When we consider our ways, we should be thankful that God has forgiven us.  The reality is, we have all wounded someone.  Somewhere, someone is limping because of our loose tongue and or immature or mean ways.  Someone is filled with doubt because of your sharp tongue.  Someone avoids the mirror because of your critical words.  Someone is depressed because of your actions and treatment of them.  Someone hasn’t stepped foot in a church because of the way you treated them.  Yes, our churches are also zones filled with “friendly fire”.

Take the time to make a list of people you have wounded. 

While it is easy to recount who has harmed us, it can be challenging to face the fact that we have caused someone the same pain we experienced ourselves.  

Because we have all been hurt, the reality is that the man or woman Jesus used in his example image1-2could have been one that was experiencing trauma not just from the man or woman that offended him, but that the pain was the result of a prior wound created by someone else.

The problem!

It is also more painful to remove the plate as it is to place the plate.

To remove the plate requires not only the cutting of the skin, but the cutting deeper of the flesh to remove the plate.  This is what many of us experience.  Since it is difficult and painful to deal with hurts, many of us choose to allow the plate to remain.  Thus, it sits as a land mine, causing further pain to the one pierced and to those who cross the path of this wounded vessel.  Yes, hurt people hurt people!  And we must heal!

We as friends and family must be patient as God uses us to help remove the plates from the lives of others.  We must be patient as He brings us through, revealing the error of our ways, and His purpose for allowing us to be injured.  We know that all things are working for good, and that in due time, God will reveal His plan and the roll for all of our experiences.

Who do you need to reach out too?

The Word from Jesus is to restore the relationship.  The urgency placed on His instructions is because He knows the longer the relationship goes without restoration, the more difficult it will be to restore.  Furthermore, the emphasis is that wounding people is dangerous, thus we must stop wounding people!  In this, I stated that the world and church was filled with people who we have placed not just one plate, but multiple plates on.  There are people walking around blinged out because of you, so stop it!  Let’s stop offending one another and seek to bring about God’s Kingdom on earth!  One filled with peace and worship!

Next week:  Pierced:  Help!

#PastorJDO3

 

 

 

Lessons from the Breast: Where are the Signs?

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People have come to our ministry and stayed, not because of what was said, but because of what was seen. I paraphrased a statement made by a mighty woman of God who spoke to us as young children hungry for the breast. She looked at us as though we were clawing through her clothes, needing nutrient that we could only get from her. In public, she shamelessly fed us all, no blanket, not towel or cloth. We latched on unashamed, as she told us the secret to life in ministry.

Her words rang in my ear as I got in the car to drive off. I chewed on if the entire ride. What did she say? “The crowed followed Jesus based upon what they saw, not for what they heard.” She continued, “Not only did they see signs and wonders, they saw him, and what he lived, matched what he spoke. This made Him different!” healingfaith

So; “What are they seeing I asked myself?” “Signs and wonders?” or are people “wondering where the signs are?” As she spoke, she said the issue with our churches are void of signs. (summary of conversation) If people don’t see signs and wonders, experience no life change then how are they to believe?

The signs and wonders were to accompany the man and woman of God as they continued doing the work of the Lord as a visible sign that the Lords presence and power is with them. But a problem exist! Miracles require Faith!

I thought to my self asked myself, Do you Believe in Miracles? And if so, where is the evidence?  Is it possible to believe in miracles and not to perform them? Could one believe the potential for miracles are there and never act upon what they know is available? I concluded yes! So where are the miracles?

I thought about Jesus, looking around thinking, I know its not me! Who stands among me that does not believe? Looking within, pointing out those that didn’t belong. He excused them beyond the doors and closed himself in with those who believed and put faith to work!

getoutI started looking around. Mentally thumbing through my surroundings. Maybe I believe, but I am surrounded by doubt and doubters? Maybe having a list of friend and associates is the problem?   Remove my friends?  Perish the thought you might think!  They are all I have.  They have my back!  They are with me!  And maybe that’s the problem.  You can’t perform miracles because they are with you!  Maybe to achieve, we need to clean out our surroundings, removing doubt like we periodically clean out our friends list on Facebook? Maybe we need to highlight names of those who tag along and block them like we are on Twitter? Maybe, we must un-follow them as though we are on Instagram because the images and example of faithlessness is influencing our existence?  Maybe all of them have a “feed”, because what they display feed us?  How appropriate!  

Jesus said, I would that you would do greater works than I, as though what He performed wasn’t enough to sway the hearts and minds of mankind. Maybe Jesus knew that the worlds increasing level of wickedness would require us to do miracles and show signs to those far beyond what He performed to leave with the viewer no doubt?  

Maybe there is some crazy formula to Conversions?
Confession of Faith = (Preached Word + Signs and Wonders) x Conviction

Yep, you see the problem too.  Conviction is a work of the Holy Spirit, which critiques have deemed absent from many equations.  Furthermore, maybe its’ absence along with the restraints placed on the her has rendered an environment Miracle less?  Maybe just maybe, the Holy Spirits job is more than dancing and tongues? Maybe the signs displayed by being under its control lead us towards a life of discipline that builds a faith worthy not just to stand though adversity, but that can stand with authority and declare God’s will upon earth?

Whatever the answer might be, one thing is for sure, Miracles require Faith. Faith require Belief. Believe requires Relationship. Relationship require Trust. Trust requires Prayer. Yes, Prayer!  The Y to the X of the Holy Spirit that form the parameters to move in the will of Christ.  worship-fast

All this to ask, again, “Where are the Signs and Wonders?”  According to the Word, they are supposed to be a regular occurrence.  They are to be a part of the fabric of our existence to aide in proclaiming to a dying world that He is Lord.  Like Moses, we stand before our relatives in faith declaring to the enemy to release our friends and family.  Equipped with His Word and our faith, we stand before the prince of the air, declaring freedom to the captive.  We cry out not just for justice, but for the liberation of those who are under the yoke of bondage.  We stand on the Blood Provision of the Messiah, and proclaim in His name, Jesus the Christ, that all that read this, including those that are bold enough to type and declare Freedom and Healing through His Stripes; DONE!

 

#PastorJDO3